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Miguel Ibarra closing in on transfer to Club Leon

Miguel Ibarra USMNT 1



In the midst of all the Liga MX draft craziness of Wednesday, there was another intriguing move being worked on and now it appears another American player is ready to make the move South.

Liga MX side Club Leon has agreed in principle on a transfer of Minnesota United and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Miguel Ibarra, sources confirmed to SBI on Thursday. The deal has yet to be finalized, but Ibarra is expected to arrive in Mexico on Thursday to complete the move.

If the deal does go through, it would mark the latest surprising turn in an improbable year for the Mexican-American winger, who has gone from obscure NASL player to member of the USMNT player pool, and now reportedly the subject of a seven-figure transfer move.

Club Leon has already publicly announced the transfer as having been completed, but sources tell SBI only the agreement between Club Leon and Minnesota United has been reached, with Ibarra still needing to agree on a contract with Club Leon.

The former Portland Timbers draft pick has made the most of time with Minnesota United, developing into one of the league’s best players and attracting the attention of USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who called him up last fall. Ibarra has continued to receive call-ups in the months after, though he has failed to earn minutes in his past two call-ups and has been left off the U.S. team’s preliminary Gold Cup roster.

Now, with a move to Mexico set to take place, Ibarra will join the growing contingent of U.S. players plying their trade in Liga MX.

What the move means for Minnesota United remains to be seen, but if the club can generate a $1 million transfer for a player the Loons signed as a free agent four years ago, that would be a good bit of business. That being said, Ibarra would certainly not be easy to replace.

What do you think of Ibarra heading to Liga MX? Disappointed not to see an MLS team make a move for him? Think he can succeed in Mexico?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Liga MX is a big step up from NASL.

    From what I’ve seen of his play (mostly NASL highlights and limited MNT mins), it’s not going to be easy. He has NFL speed like Jordan Morris, but his technical quality seems average.

    He should be able beat slow Liga MX defenders down the line and put up crosses, but he will not be able to dribble down the middle or cut into the inside since he will be facing much better players than NASL. Hope I’m wrong but look forward to seeing him play in Mexico.

  2. To use the terminology of a less than sane person on this site him switching to Mexico would have been “Bush League”. Normally I don’t get to upset about that stuff but Klinsi picked him up out of relative no where and put rockets on his career. Obviously not a problem as he is loyal to his country and manager.

    • The interesting question then being, do you applaud Klinsi’s gambit of “reaching down” and committing him in the minors. Whether you think he’ll pan out or not, at least one appearance makes it harder to switch and in doing so does also forestall Chivas.

  3. he will be earning Dp money in a NORMAL SOCCER LEAGUE, WHERE DP MONEY IS NORMAL TO BE PAID.
    any other questions?
    sucks for mls and their owners who don’t like soccer but love the. business. of making. soccer.

  4. Smart move for Minnesota to sell him before entering MLS. Otherwise, MLS would get their grubbly hands on the transfer fee.

  5. great move for Ibarra, I’m happy for him. This should up his game considerably, assuming he gets minutes there. Leon had a tough 2015 Closura but it’s a good club. I look forward to seeing him play when he comes to Tijuana but it won’t be until next season (2016 Closura).

    • JK… making money for US players all over the world.
      Today Ibarra…
      Tomorrow Bobby Wood.
      After that Jordan Morris.
      JK is the best agent ever.

      • Miguel Ibarra is having an amazing 2015. I wish I could have a year like that, every year. In agreement, the Jurgen delivered.

      • But Klinsmann doesn’t know who pans out and who doesn’t and based on Wood’s initial appearances you might have said bust. So he calls up a few and some pan out. Long as it’s not in meaningful games big whoop. Whole point to this part of the cycle is to freshen and deepen the pool.

        The bigger risk is more like Green or Yedlin, you show up at the Big Event and literally throw them in the deep end and see what happens.

        I think Ibarra is marginal at best but he does have some qualities and it’s better than trying the same set of people over and over.

  6. I wonder how the money works? I know for MLS teams the league gets a chunk of the transfer fee but how does it work with an expansion team coming into the league? maybe that plays into the timing of the transfer.

    • Last year of his contract, get something now or get nothing later. I’m sure he gets more salary and prestige (and maybe a transfer cut) out of his destination and won’t fight it.

      Is this the incredible boon to him some are suggesting? Financially, yes. Soccerwise, we’ll see if he plays. MLS or Scandinavia would have been safer sporting bets, he’d more likely play there.

      Re the callups, we know that on the merits it’s a little bit of a stretch he’s one of the best 30-odd players. I think he was called to commit him (vs. Mex.) and to develop him as a player in those quality of camps/ games, not because he was perceived as immediately ready. I feel like the same is true of Morris but he has performed well hence he’s sticking around. Ibarra has played like a project and is thus being left out for “money on the table” Gold Cup.

    • That is put into a fund called the future DP salary fund.

      Shame they couldn’t keep him, guys like LeToux for Seattle really can help an expansion team to go from USOC quarterfinalist to a contender.

  7. I bet few or no NASL (or USL) club has ever garnered a six-figure transfer fee let alone a seven-figure transfer fee for a player. I have to hand it MN United. They are in the midst of pulling off quite a piece of business. $1M to $1.5M is hardly chump change for any club in the US. As for Ibarra, I am over the moon for him. He’s making the step up. We can an agree that was necessary sooner than later. Club Leon is a highly respectable club with great support and their manager Juan Antonio Pizzi has a wealth of experience. Pizzi is known to give players a fair shot. I think Ibarra’s move will benefit all parties involved —— Ibarra, MN United, USMNT, and Leon. A win-win in my book.

  8. An MLS team should have grabbed the Ibarra and Ramirez tandem long time ago. With more money, better training and good surrounding core those two would be a good addition to any team.

  9. No doubt about it, Ibarra will be a big loss for Minnesota if/when this goes through. He’s been a huge player on the field and a major part of the club’s identity off the field. Having said that, it’s hard for a minor league club to turn down $1 million and it’ll help push Ibarra (good for the USMNT)…so good for Minnesota and good for Miguel.
    Also, while Ibarra is an outstanding player, Minnesota did bring in some high quality players (for NASL) during the off season including Johnny Steele and Kahlif Al Hassan, both of whom have been sitting on the bench. We’ve also been sitting the 2014 golden boot winner Christian Ramirez in favor of all time NASL leading scorer Pablo Campos. So, there might be a line up/tactical shift when Ibarra leaves to get some of those guys on the field more, or we could have some trade bait too.
    I’m certainly not glad he’s leaving, but I understand it and support the decision…and I think we’ll be OK.


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